Wednesday 31 January 2024

January Round Up.

I don't usually set monthly goals or post a monthly round up, but I thought I might try it out this year and see how I go.
If you look over to the right there you will see my monthly goals listed in the side bar.
Top of the list is the Chookshed Stitchers Challenge. (Listed in the left side bar).
I'm happy to say I surpassed my own expectations. I had said that I wanted to start the cutting for a project, planning to cut only the background fabrics. But as you see here, I also cut the coloured fabrics.
What can I say? I was on a roll and kept on cutting.
I have tweaked the Chookshed list as I no longer need a second round of cutting.
Next on my monthly goals list is to complete 2 x RSC blocks.
I chose to use the FPP kiwi design by Louise, 
They still need their legs, but I figure I will wait until I have a few more made then add a whole bunch of legs all at once.
Next on my list for the month is to complete at least one Christmas ornament.
Happy to say I not only completed the cross stitching, but I also converted it in to a fully finished object.
Then I started on a second, secret ornament and shared a quick tease.
The cross stitch has progressed a lot further now and hopefully I should complete it this afternoon.
I'm very happy about that.
I also committed to working a minimum of 15 minutes per day on either Cross stitch, crochet or my EPP. 
There was one day when I did none of the above, but as most days I managed more than an hour of something I'm not going to worry about it.
While I didn't often work on my EPP I did make a lot of progress during the Australia day zoom session with Chooky.
If you remember, this project is something I rescued from a Facebook page. No pattern and no idea what the person who started it had in mind. I am becoming concerned that there may not be enough of that red to complete it as I have planned.  I'll keep you posted on that.
My crochet has also grown quite a bit, but sadly no updated picture, here is an older one.
I really need to spread it out somewhere and see how big it is.

And that is the end of my monthly goals. 

The sharp eyed among you may have noticed that I had the applique fish as one of my goals, it sneaked in a few days ago and this morning I sorted out a bunch of pretty blue batik fabrics to use for the back grounds, then went off out for my walk. While I was walking I had another think about it and decided to removed the fish from the list. 
Nice try Susan, but it's not happening.  Maybe I'll collect the patterns and do something later.

That does not complete my productivity for the month though. I also got busy using my grocery receipts as paper foundations and turned a pile of triangle off cuts in to some very lovely placemats.
I am delighted with how these turned out and will make more.
I also made a start on a kit that has been around for a while, taking it along to the local club sew in day and completing the top at home a couple of days later.
Town Square, by Sweetwater.
It was quick and easy to put together and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Now to figure out what I will take with me next month.
These sew in days and hopefully weekends will become monthly. I have pushed for them since joining the club almost two years ago. So I really need to attend and support.

Away from my needle and thread I had a very busy month in the kitchen making many batches of pickled onions, relish, jam and marmalade as well as some of the usual baking. Tony and I have a great stash of goodies to keep us going over the colder months and I also took some to work for the residents to enjoy.

January was a good month.
I hope February will be the same.
I think my list of goals will remain pretty much the same for next month so I won't make a special post about them.

I hope you all had a great start to the year, keeping cool or warm and your climate dictates and that you took the time to settle with needle and thread. 


Sunday 28 January 2024

A very busy weekend.

Phew, it's a relief to be sat down quietly at home. As the title says I've had a very busy weekend. 
On Friday I joined Chooky and the ladies for a special extra long Australia day stitching zoom session.  It was a great day.  As it was not a public holiday here in NZ Tony was at work so I had to make my own cups of tea and lunch, but that's OK, I got to sew all day without interruptions.  I worked on three different projects.  I started by closing the bindings on my scrappy batik placemats. You've seen them before, but I didn't show you what I was using for batting. On Thursday when I went hunting for batting I came across a piece of fleece that was trimmed off one of my very early quilts, it's been lying about for years awaiting a purpose. It was just big enough for two mats. 
Then I went digging some more and found a much larger piece of white fleece, it was cut from the piece I used to back my Lucy Blue. 
More than enough to layer the other four mats. Next, backing. I went diving in to the homespun drawer for that, I was sure I had something in just the right colour.
It ended up being two somethings as neither one was big enough. Two and four pieces again.
Once they were layered and pinned I did some simple stitch in the ditch around the scrappy panels and added the binding ready for Friday. 
The binding is another piece of batik, the whole piece had palm trees and a few clouds on, but sliced up for binding it just makes a pretty blue green edge to the place mats.
I love them. So happy with how these have come out.  And truly scrappy as I had used left overs and odds and ends in all stages of their creation. 
It was lovely to sit and chat while I closed the binding, a great job for a zoom sewing session.
Next I got on with some EPP. 
Last time you saw it I had eight flowers joined and had been playing with layout.
After a few hours with Chooky and the girls it now looks like this.
I was able to add eleven more flowers. Oh my goodness I was sooooo happy about that.
I also spent a little time with my crochet and got another round on to that.  I really need to lay it out and see how big it is. It may be time to think about an edge treatment.
That was Friday.
Thank you Chooky for another fabulously productive zooming day. 
Saturday the local patchworkers and quilters club had a sewing day. I took along a kit I've had sitting around for about 5 years. LOL
I cut all the fabrics and carefully labelled them last year and took them along to Barradine for Scrub Stitchin' in April, then didn't even look at it. I focused on the anchor quilt. But all that cutting was great it meant I was ready to sit and sew as soon as I arrived and set up on Saturday morning.  It wasn't a long day, starting at 10am and finishing at 3 pm. But I did get all of the blocks sewn together and made a start on the sashing.
I had to leave it there as we had guests coming for dinner and I had to make some salads and do a few chores once I got home.
It was a great day though.
This morning son Joe and family arrived. We had some play time, some story book time and some lunch.
Torstien read the fire engine book again.
Then he had a little pavlova with his chocolate sauce.
Grandad was supposed to be supervising that. 
He at it all up then ran off to the bathroom to wash his face.
After he had helped Grandad to load the dish basher we all went outside to play with the bubbles in the sunshine.
This afternoon, once Master Torstein and family had left I went in to my room and continued. I got all of the blocks put together with the sashing pieces and corner stones, then it was time for borders. 
The pattern shows a very dark border.
The model image on the pack shows a medium border.
The kit provides a creamy white border.
I quick dig in the stash revealed a black from the same fabric collection. Maybe a little thin border between the blocks and the creamy border?
Yep!  That will do for me. 
On it went. 
Then I stopped.  I will add the cream border but not today, it was time to sit down and have a rest.
Back to Saturday.
There were eleven of us at the sewing day. We set up in an old school house that is now mostly used by the local arts society.  There were lots of different projects but I didn't get pictures of them all.
I did ask Marieke if I could have a picture of hers though. It is a huge Quilt as you go scrapper. Big enough to fit a queen size spare bed.  The front had been made from crumbs and other small pieces, with a beautiful blue for the sashing.
The back is also scraps, but a little more organised and has white sashing. 
Marieke was hand sewing the white sashing closed on the back. She plans to bind it using the same blue that she used for the front.
Such a beautiful quilt and very striking way to use up lots of little scraps.
Loulee wants one. 
That was my wonderful but very busy weekend.
I hope yours was good too.

Thursday 18 January 2024

Life beyond the kitchen....

It's that time of year when a girl has to spend a lot of time in the kitchen dealing with the bounty from the garden.  I bought some oranges and made yet another batch of marmalade. I took some to work for the residents and there was a flurry of messages this morning telling me how much the residents enjoyed it. Hmm, there may be requests for more. LOL
One thing there was definitely a request for more of is rhubarb cake. When I pointed out all the rhubarb in the garden Tony requested that I make one. 
So of course I obliged.
I don't just spend time in the kitchen though, 
As you know I've been playing with my batik scraps and my grocery receipts. I started off by producing some multi coloured strips, you can see those in this post. 
I mentioned that they might become placemats. Then a lightbulb came on and I separated out the left overs from the seaswept quilt and focused on them.
I pulled a few larger pieces out of the stash for sashing strips and borders, today I started to put things together.
I love them, such beautiful colours.
I have just enough of the blue and green triangles left to make two more the same. Fingers crossed the fabric I have selected to use as binding is large enough.
I have also been busy with my hand sewing and have completed the first of my Christmas ornaments. 
Then made a start on the secret ornament.
I might show another progress shot of this one, or maybe I won't.
I've also been getting in some time on my crochet.
My 15 minutes that I promised to spend on my EPP has been spent on cross stitch or crochet.
But at least I have been creative.
Is it OK to change my commitment for the month? LOL
As I go out of the laundry door and walk to the washing line or the veg gardens I pass by a long thin garden that we have planted with some low shrubs. I have put lily bulbs in too and have been excitedly waiting for them to flower. This one popped up and made sixteen buds.
So beautiful with a lovely scent.
My mother in law was thinning out in her garden and gave me some of her thinning.
Not such a strong stem and only one bud per stem, but another beautiful perfumed flower. There are about six of these. I'm sure as they settle in to my garden they will become stronger and produce more flowers. Mothers look stunning. 
I have to work this weekend, but hopefully between chores and shifts I will have time to play with needle and thread.  I hope you have time to play too. 

Monday 15 January 2024

Chookshed challenge mid month check in.

Number six on my list for the Chookshed Challenge was to start cutting fabrics for my Wind Swept project.
I think we could say that I over achieved.
Not only did I cut all of the back ground fabrics, I also pulled out these beautiful batik bundles.
And cut them up too for the leaves.
So now all the fabrics are cut. 
Hmm, I have cutting for this project on my list twice.
I may need to tweak it a little.
I know many others are doing a great job on their #6 projects too.

Sunday 14 January 2024

Normal service resumed.....

After a very busy week in the kitchen I was delighted to get back in to my room on Saturday. It was lovely to potter in there. Belle was not so happy, she just couldn't decide where to sit, trying out some very unusual seats and generally getting in the way while I tried to play.
I still managed complete my RSC challenge for the month and now have two happy little kiwi blocks.
I just need to add some embroidered eyes and legs. 
These are foundation paper pieced and were designed by the lovely and very generous Louise. She showed them off one day while zooming with Chooky, of course we all fell in love with the design. I'm fairly sure I'm not the only one making Kiwis this year. Louise has put the pattern on her blog if you missed out on the zoom share. 
So with that commitment completed and lots of day left I went in search of another project. 
I've been collecting supermarket receipts for a while now, with a plan in mind for them. Yesterday was their day and I began to cover them with batik scraps.
Belle had gone round a few more times and eventually settled on the corner of my cutting table using my blocks as a cushion and a bag as a pillow.
I love the paw over the nose. LOL
(No, I don't know why there was a bag of half inch hexie papers in the batik box, but after finding them a plan began to formulate, I'll keep you posted if it comes to fruition).
So, back to the reason for pulling out the batik scraps.
I got nine strips made yesterday and have covered a few more this morning before the grand children arrived. I'm not entirely sure what I will do with them. 
Maybe some placemats?  
Maybe a lap quilt?  
Maybe the completed blocks will sit in a box for a while? 
What ever, right now I am enjoying the process and using the papers as a great foundation. Keep an eye open for more of these.
Back to work tomorrow but I will still have plenty of sewing time.

Friday 12 January 2024

It's been a busy week.

It was to be my short week at work. I was rostered to work only Wednesday and Thursday. I left a message for my boss last week, asking if I could have a break please as I was tired after all the extra shifts. The lovely lady granted my wish. Yippee!
I planned to tidy up my sewing room, then sew, sew and sew some more. But as I mentioned in my last post, my father in law turned up with all of those onions. There was just over 10 kilograms of pickling onions. I worked on them in batches. Each day this week I've spent an hour topping, tailing and peeling onions then leaving them in salt overnight. The next day I would bottle them up and start topping and tailing the next batch. My fingers were tingling each day from the onion juice. On top of all of that I've made two batches of cucumber relish.
And more marmalade. What you see here is about half of my weeks preserving work. After spending most of each morning in the kitchen and completing my other chores I was ready to sit and relax once I had eaten some lunch each day. Sewing took a back seat but I did squeeze in some sewing time.
I completed the cross stitch on my Christmas gnome.
I plan to add his back stitch today.
I've also added a few more rounds to my crochet blanket. 
I may not have done all of the sewing I planned to do this week but I got in more than my 15 minutes each day. 
The onions, cucumbers and mandarins are all used up now, hopefully I can sew all weekend. I have the back ground fabric for my RSC kiwis all sorted out and want them completed before I go off to work on Monday afternoon. 

Monday 8 January 2024

Plans change....

Well today was going to be all about making my RSC kiwis blocks. Then life and my father in law got in the way. LOL
First I had to have a bit of a tidy up in my wee room and that turned into a major tidy up and sort out session. Not what I had planned but it needed to happen.  Just as I was winding up and getting that finished and started to allow myself to start thinking about fabrics for back grounds and where they might be stashed....... Father in law turned up with not one, but two big buckets of onions for pickling please.... 
Hmm, sideways picture, sorry.
I have no idea how many onions were in the buckets, we tipped them in to this basket and I started sorting. All the red onions were taken to the kitchen and dropped in to a sink filled with very hot water for washing and peeling.
There are 3 kilograms of red pickling onions, they are now all cleaned up and sat in salt. They will stay that way overnight and tomorrow I will bottle them before cleaning up the white onions and leaving them in salt overnight. LOL
I hope I have enough jars.
I'm sure I have mentioned previously that I have made batches of cucumber relish and looking at my plant I'll be making another batch very soon. Though father in law did take one away with him earlier as his plant is not doing so good.
It's not all savoury preserves, someone gave me a bag of mandarins, we've eaten a few but I thought I would try my hand at marmalade.
I might make more of that. 
It's not all been kitchen and yard work. Tony and I had a couple of days out. Hmm, no pics sorry.
And though I didn't get huge amounts done I have been getting in at least 15 mins a day on either my EPP, my cross stitch or my crochet.
I had my EPP blocks all pinned up on the wall quilt so I could get an idea of how I want to join everything together.
This looks like a good layout and I even have spare flower blocks.
Sadly I missed out on the Sunday zoom session, though I did briefly attend the previous one.
That's been my week. Full on busy and it looks like life will continue in the same way for a few days until I get through with onions, cucumbers and mandarins.